IRSD holds meeting for upcoming referendum to address ‘overcrowding issues’

GEORGETOWN, Del. – There’s no doubt that the Indian River School District is growing. And with an increase of students filling these hallways each year, the space is becoming more and more limited.

“They’re nine years old and they talk to me about how crowded their schools are,” said one parent, Kimberly Pettyjohn.

That’s why school officials are pushing parents and residents in the district to vote yes for an upcoming referendum that’s proposing to build a new Sussex Central High School while also creating additional classroom space at Indian River high school and Selbyville Middle School.

“One building really takes care of three levels of issues for us and it’s more feasible to do,” said superintendent Mark Steele.

But what’s proposed, won’t come without a cost. If the referendum passes residents in the area could see a maximum increase of $87 dollars in their property taxes.  But officials say those rates are expected to drop after four years, thanks to a debt service tax decrease that would kick in in 2023. And some parents see that as a plus.

“Yeah there will be that big hit at first but eventually that bond will go down and the property taxes will go down,” said Pettyjohn.

While others, still aren’t too sure how to feel.

“I feel like the burdens being put on me. I have kids in the district so it’s kind of a catch 22. I want to support the school but in that aspect I feel like it should be put on the developers as well,” said another parent, Shawn Remp.

And whether you vote yes or no on February 5th, residents in the area say no matter what, the overcrowding issues has got to be fixed.

“If the referendum doesn’t pass, something’s going to have to be done. Regardless of whether they pass or not,” said Pettyjohn.

Officials add the referendum will also seek funding for operating expenses for a high school and elementary school. These include employment and curriculum costs for an elementary school. And additional utility costs and transportation that would come with the new Sussex Central High School.

School officials will continue to hold meetings throughout the rest of January for residents and parents to learn more about the upcoming referendum.
The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 16 at Georgetown Middle School starting at 6PM.

Categories: Delaware, Local News